Phishing Activity Trends Report. 4 th Quarter Unifying the. Global Response. To Cybercrime. October December 2015

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1 4 th Quarter 2015 Unifying the Global Response To Cybercrime October December 2015 Published March 22, 2016

2 , Phishing Report Scope The APWG analyzes phishing attacks reported to the APWG by its member companies, its Global Research Partners, through the organization s website at and by submissions to APWG also measures the evolution, proliferation, and propagation of crimeware by drawing from the research of our member companies. Phishers Upped Attacks During the 2015 Holiday Season Phishing Defined Phishing is a criminal mechanism employing both social engineering and technical subterfuge to steal consumers personal identity data and financial account credentials. Social engineering schemes use spoofed s purporting to be from legitimate businesses and agencies, designed to lead consumers to counterfeit websites that trick recipients into divulging financial data such as usernames and passwords. Technical subterfuge schemes plant crimeware onto PCs to steal credentials directly, often using systems to intercept consumers online account user names and passwords -- and to corrupt local navigational infrastructures to misdirect consumers to counterfeit websites (or authentic websites through phisher-controlled proxies used to monitor and intercept consumers keystrokes). Phishers unleashed a barrage with phishing scams in December 2015, in an annual attempt to part consumers from their money. [p. 4] 4th Quarter 2015 Phishing Activity Trends Summary Another holiday phenomenon was that the Retail / Service sector became the most-targeted industry sector in the fourth quarter of 2015, with 24.03% of all phishing attacks. [p. 7] There has been a notable increase in software bundlers, which install unwanted programs without the user s consent. [p. 8] Table of Contents Statistical Highlights for 4th Quarter Phishing Reports and Phishing Site Trends 4 Brand-Domain Pairs Measurement 5 Brands & Legitimate Entities Hijacked by Phishing Attacks 6 Most Targeted Industry Sectors 7 Countries Hosting Phishing Sites 7 Top Malware Infected Countries 8 Measurement of Detected Crimeware 9 Phishing-based Trojans & Downloader s Host Countries (by IP address) 10 Phishing 2 by Top-Level Domain 10 APWG Phishing Trends Report Contributors 11 Belize and the United States topped the list of countries that hosted phishing sites. [p. 7] The USA remained the top country hosting phishing-based Trojans and downloaders during the three-month period. [p. 10] The number of brands targeted by phishing remained constant throughout 2015, although new companies and institutions were always being targeted. [p. 6] In Q4 2015, 14 million new malware samples were captured. [p. 8]

3 , Methodology and Instrumented Data Sets The APWG continues to refine its tracking and reporting methodology and to incorporate new data sources into our reports. APWG tracks and reports the number of unique phishing reports ( campaigns) it receives, in addition to the number of unique phishing sites found. An campaign is a unique sent out to multiple users, directing them to a specific phishing web site (multiple campaigns may point to the same web site). APWG counts unique phishing report s as those found in a given month that have the same subject line in the . The APWG also tracks the number of unique phishing websites. This is now determined by the unique base URLs of the phishing sites. (A single phishing site may be advertised as thousands of customized URLs, all leading to basically the same attack destination.) APWG additionally tracks crimeware instances (unique software applications as determined by MD5 hash of the crimeware sample), as well as unique sites that are distributing crimeware (typically via browser drive-by exploits). The APWG also includes statistics on rogue anti-virus software, desktop infection rates, and related topics. Statistical Highlights for 4th Quarter 2015 October November December Number of unique phishing websites detected Number of unique phishing reports (campaigns) received by APWG from consumers Number of brands targeted by phishing campaigns Country hosting the most phishing websites Phishing URL contains some form of target name Percentage of sites not using port 80 48,114 44,575 65, , ,233 80, Belize USA USA 78.51% 72.61% 52.3% 2.91% 3.98% 7.50% 3

4 , Phishing Reports and Phishing Site Trends 4th Quarter 2015 The total number of phishing attacks observed in Q4 was 158,574. APWG noted a large spike in phishing from November to December 2015, with an increase of over 21,000 phishing sites detected during the holiday season. The number of unique phishing reports submitted to APWG during Q4 was 173,262. The number of unique phishing reports submitted to APWG saw a drop of nearly 15,000 from November to December. 4

5 , Brand-Domain Pairs Measurement 4th Quarter 2015 The following chart combines statistics based on brands phished, unique domains, unique domain/brand pairs, and unique URLs. Brand/domain pairs count the unique instances of a domain being used to target a specific brand. (Example: if several URLs are targeting a brand but are hosted on the same domain this brand/domain pair would be counted as one instead of several.) Forensic utility of this metric: If the number of unique URLs is greater than the number of brand/domain pairs, it indicates many URLs are being hosted on the same domain to target the same brand. Knowing how many URLs occur with each domain indicates the approximate number of attacking domains a brand-holding victim needs to locate and neutralize. Since phishing-prevention technologies (like browser and blocking) require the full URL in order to prevent over-blocking, it is useful to understand the general number of unique URLs that occur per domain. October November December Number of Unique Phishing Web Sites Detected 48,114 44,575 65,885 Unique Domains 15,477 14,457 17,689 Unique Brand-Domain Pairs 17,711 17,032 22,882 Unique Brands URLs Per Brand

6 , Brands and Legitimate Entities Targeted by Phishing Attacks 4th Quarter 2015 The number of brands targeted by phishers in each month of the quarter remained constant. Across 2015, phishers targeted between 393 and 442 unique brands in any given month. However, there was turnover among the companies that were targeted a stream of new companies and institutions were phished for the first time. The above numbers measure widely distributed, general attacks against online companies. They do not measure spear-phishing attacks, which are highly selective attacks that target specific employees at specific companies. Because such attacks are not widely broadcast via mass spamming, and may involve only a few lures, there are no reliable numbers regarding how many companies are being attacked in that fashion. 6

7 , Most-Targeted Industry Sectors 4th Quarter 2015 The Retail / Service sector became the most-targeted industry sector in the fourth quarter of 2015, with percent of attacks, followed closely by Financial Services. In the first three quarters of 2015, ISPs had been the most-targeted industry segment. Countries Hosting Phishing Sites 4th Quarter 2015 Phishers often break into vulnerable web hosting networks to provision phishing sites. Belize was the top country hosting phishing sites in September and October, surpassing the United States. Web servers in Belize were broken into by phishers, leading to the temporary increase. According to Carl Leonard, Principal Security Analyst at Forcepoint, the US bias was due to a plethora of sites set up for fake Tech Support scams and fake anti-virus scams (often called rogue anti-virus). These sites are designed to defraud people (encouraging them to pay a fee to "clean" their machine), or to install malware instead of the proffered anti-virus software. 7 October November December Belize 42.75% United States 50.90% United States 83.58% United States 42.56% Belize 27.22% Netherlands 1.95% Belgium 2.58% Europe 4.65% United Kingdom 1.51% Europe 2.38% Hong Kong 4.57% Germany 1.26% Germany 0.99% China 1.14% Australia 1.12% United Kingdom 0.81% Canada 1.09% Hong Kong 0.86% Canada 0.71% Italy 0.88% China 0.82% Brazil 0.63% Germany 0.86% France 0.73% Hong Kong 0.60% United Kingdom 0.81% Russian Federation 0.60% France 0.50% Australia 0.76% Ireland 0.57%

8 , Crimeware Taxonomy and Samples According to Classification The APWG s Crimeware statistics categorize crimeware attacks as follows, though the taxonomy will grow as variations in attack code are spawned. Definition: Crimeware is code designed with the intent of collecting information on the end-user in order to steal the user s credentials. Unlike most generic keyloggers, phishing-based keyloggers have tracking components, which attempt to monitor specific actions (and specific organizations, such as financial institutions, retailers, and e-commerce merchants) in order to target specific information. The most common types of information are access to financial-based websites, e-commerce sites, and web-based mail sites. Malware Infected Countries 4th Quarter 2015 In 2015, APWG member PandaLabs captured 84 million new malware samples, with 14 million of those captured in the fourth quarter of Most of them were variants of a much smaller number of pieces of malware, changed in small ways to avoid anti-malware defenses. By the end of 2015 PandaLabs had 304 million malware samples on file. There was a major increase in PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) via software bundlers, which install programs without the user s consent. And there was a rise in different variants of Cryptolocker (ransomware) in the fourth quarter. The latter caused mayhem worldwide by locking users out of their data and demanding ransom payments. New Malware Strains in Q4 % of malware samples Trojans 53.05% Viruses 23.48% Worms 13.38% Adware/Spyware 1.83% PUP 8.26% Malware Infections by Type % of malware samples Trojans 61.28% Viruses 2.02% Worms 2.40% Adware/Spyware 5.25% PUP 29.05% According to Luis Corrons, PandaLabs Technical Director and Trends Report contributing analyst, PUPs placed second, accounting for nearly a third of infections. Corrons noted: Aggressive distribution techniques and software programs used by PUPs means that they achieve a high rate of installation in users computers. If we look at the global percentage of infected computers, which is percent, we can see that it increased compared to previous quarters, and this was mainly driven by PUPs. We must point out, however, that this figure represents computers that have had any type of malware encounter, but doesn t necessarily mean that they became infected. Asia and Latin America were the regions that registered the highest infection rates. The countries with the lowest infection rates are generally in Europe, with Japan also appearing in the bottom ten. Ranking Country Infection Rate 1 China 57.24% 2 Taiwan 49.15% 3 Turkey 42.52% 4 Guatemala 39.09% 5 Russia 38.01% 6 Ecuador 37.51% 7 Mexico 37.28% 8 Peru 37.06% 9 Poland 36.83% 10 Brazil 36.34% Ranking Country Infection ratio 45 Netherlands 26.51% 44 Japan 25.34% 43 Denmark 24.84% 42 Belgium 23.46% 41 Switzerland 23.16% 40 Germany 22.78% 39 UK 21.34% 38 Sweden 20.88% 37 Norway 20.51% 36 Finland 20.32% 8

9 , Measurement of Detected Crimeware 4th Quarter 2015 Using data contributed from APWG founding member Forcepoint regarding the proliferation of malevolent software, this metric measures proportions of three genera of malevolent code: Crimeware (data-stealing malicious code designed specifically to be used to victimize financial institutions customers and to co-opt those institutions identities); Data Stealing and Generic Trojans (code designed to send information from the infected machine, control it, and open backdoors on it); and Other (the remainder of malicious code commonly encountered in the field such as auto-replicating worms, dialers for telephone charge-back scams, etc.) Accoring to Carl Leonard, Principal Security Analyst, Forcepoint, In October 2015 the U.S. Department of Justice announced the arrest of the administrator of the Dridex or Bugat botnet. This botnet spread a malware package. Victims would see an lure arrive into their inboxes, purporting to be an invoice or parcel delivery notification. The malware would then attempt to silently steal the recipient s online bank credentials. The botnet was allegedy used to steal at least US$10 million, and was disrupted by the FBI, Europol, GCHQ and the UK's National Crime Agency with assistance from private security organizations. 9

10 , Phishing-based Trojans and Downloader s Hosting Countries (by IP address) The United States remained the top country hosting phishing-based Trojans and downloaders during the threemonth period. October November December United States 67.52% United States 70.12% United States 71.09% Canada 8.68% Rep. of Korea 8.39% China 6.80% China 5.14% China 6.82% Rep. of Korea 3.23% Netherlands 3.22% Netherlands 3.01% Netherlands 3.06% Germany 2.25% Germany 1.97% Canada 2.72% United Kingdom 1.93% France 1.57% Germany 2.04% Portugal 1.29% Canada 1.05% Russian Federation 1.87% Thailand 1.29% Russian Federation 1.05% France 1.53% Ukraine 0.96% Ukraine 0.66% Singapore 0.51% Vietnam 0.96% Romania 0.52% Israel 0.51% 10

11 , APWG Contributors ithreat provides risk data, intelligence tools, and analysis to help its clients protect their intellectual & Internet properties. An Infoblox company, IID is a provider of technology and services that help organizations secure their Internet presence. MarkMonitor, a global leader in enterprise brand protection, offers comprehensive solutions and services that safeguard brands, reputation and revenue from online risks. Panda Security s mission is to keep our customers' information and IT assets safe from security threats, providing the most effective protection with minimum resource consumption. Forcepoint brings a fresh approach to address the constantly evolving cybersecurity challenges and regulatory requirements facing businesses and government agencies. The APWG is published by the APWG. For further information about the APWG, please contact APWG Deputy Secretary General Foy Shiver at or For media inquiries related to the content of this report, please contact APWG Secretary General Peter Cassidy at ; Te Smith of MarkMonitor at or Luis Corrons of Panda at Carl Leonard at Forcepoint or About the APWG PWG thanks its contributing members, above, for the data and analyses in this report0. Founded in 2003, the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) is a not-for-profit industry association focused on eliminating the identity theft and frauds that result from the growing problem of phishing, crimeware, and e- mail spoofing. Membership is open to qualified financial institutions, retailers, ISPs, solutions providers, the law enforcement community, government agencies, multi-lateral treaty organizations, and NGOs. There are more than 2,000 enterprises worldwide participating in the APWG. Because electronic crime is a sensitive subject, APWG maintains a policy of confidentiality of member organizations. 11 Websites of APWG public-service enterprises include its public website, < the Website of public awareness program, STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention < and the APWG s research website < These serve as resources about the problem of phishing and electronic frauds perpetrated against personal computers and their users and resources for countering these threats. The APWG, a 501(c)6 tax-exempted corporation, was founded by Tumbleweed Communications, financial services institutions and e-commerce providers. APWG s first meeting was in November 2003 in San Francisco and was incorporated in 2004 as an independent corporation controlled by its board of directors, its executives and its steering committee. Analysis by Greg Aaron, ithreat Cyber Group; editing by Ronnie Manning, Mynt Public Relations.

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